Order of Business.

Thursday, 10 February 2005

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 597 No. 4

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The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  It is proposed to take No. 1 the Garda Síochána Bill 2004 [Seanad] — Second Stage; and No. 15 the Driver Testing and Standards Authority Bill 2004 — Second Stage (Resumed).

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  There are no proposals to put to the House.

Mr. Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton  Within the next half hour the International Monitoring Commission will publish its report. When will the Government give its official reaction to the report? I understand the Government has had advance sight of the report and the House would like to be party to whatever comments and reaction the Government might make in this regard.

Today will also see publication of a report into the sad death of Róisín Ruddle. The Order Paper contains a Nurses (Amendment) Bill. It is a sad reflection on our health service to plan for a known shortage in intensive care nursing. I understand the report will indicate that the Department of Health and Children was aware for years of this growing problem. What changes will be made to address these shortages? We read in the newspapers this week that the national task force on medical staffing has been abandoned by the Government. What does the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children propose to do to allow a proper debate on this matter in the context of greatly needed reform in the nursing area.

[943]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  I call Deputy McManus on the second issue raised by Deputy Bruton.

Ms McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  We all feel great sympathy for the family of Róisín Ruddle on a terrible tragedy. I hope that at least some good can come of the matter. Will the Tánaiste finally recognise the serious deficiencies in the flow of nurses into our hospitals? We have a major problem in retaining nurses, particularly in the Dublin hospitals, even though a sufficient number of them is being trained. When the report is published will the Tánaiste allow a full debate in this House? We are all extremely concerned, particularly as no new nurses will graduate or qualify this year due to changes in the training scheme. I urge the Tánaiste to agree to a debate on the report and the issues relating to it in the House at the earliest opportunity.

Mr. Gormley: Information on John Gormley  Zoom on John Gormley  Does the Tánaiste agree that the sad and tragic death of Róisín Ruddle is symptomatic of the crisis in our health service? We do not seek the world-class health service the Tánaiste has promised. Instead, we would like a simple assurance. Can she promise the House that she will speedily implement the health strategy? That is all we are looking for. We do not expect the fantastic health service the Tánaiste has promised at this stage, but simply a basic health service.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  I raised issues relating to the death of Róisín Ruddle earlier under Standing Order 31. I join other Deputies in appealing to the Tánaiste, who is responsible for this area as Minister for Health and Children, to consider the report into the death of Róisín Ruddle, which will be published today, and subsequently to take a proactive approach to the critical needs within the acute hospital services system. I emphasise the importance of tackling the shortage of front-line health care workers.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  Deputy Bruton asked about the report of the monitoring committee. The Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform will make a statement when the report is published.

Our thoughts today are with the parents of the late Róisín Ruddle, Helen and Ger Ruddle, who have had to come to terms with the tragedy of the unexpected death of their daughter at the age of two. The publication today of the report on her death will cause them to recall in stark detail the trauma they suffered at that time. We have to learn lessons from what happened in this case. Our Lady’s Hospital for Sick Children in Crumlin has taken corrective action on foot of many of the report’s recommendations. Earlier this week, I met the new manager and director of nursing who have been appointed. A number of the report’s recommendations on the management of the hospital have been taken on board. In particular, a person has been appointed to take charge of the recruitment and retention of nurses.

[944]We are changing the requirements for entry into the nursing profession. Deputy McManus has acknowledged that a graduate programme is being put in place. Some 1,640 nursing students were recruited this year. We need to establish a graduate programme for midwifery and paediatrics to shorten the timeframe for training in such areas. It can take up to eight years to become an ICU paediatric nurse. There is a worldwide shortage of such workers. Our Lady’s Hospital for Sick Children in Crumlin has been given the resources to help it to engage in international recruitment. I discussed the hospital’s plans to recruit overseas with its officials the other day.

There are more nurses in the Irish health service, proportionately, than in almost any other country in Europe. We have substantially more nurses than the UK. We need to ensure that the particular shortages of nurses in intensive care, paediatrics and other areas are addressed. There is substantial interest in the new education programme for nursing. The number of students who applied for nursing last year was eight times greater than the number of places. It is clear that we have to resolve some of the issues relating to retention. I have had discussions with the nursing authorities in that regard.

Mr. J. Higgins: Information on Joe Higgins  Zoom on Joe Higgins  The simple solution is to make more training places available.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  We have established 13 nursing schools in recent years.

Mr. Gogarty: Information on Paul Nicholas Gogarty  Zoom on Paul Nicholas Gogarty  All the nurses are emigrating.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  We have invested capital expenditure of €240 million in the development of such schools.

Mr. Connaughton: Information on Paul Connaughton  Zoom on Paul Connaughton  It is not enough.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  Everybody has acknowledged that it is a substantial amount of money. Most independent analysis supports that.

Ms McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  The nurses are going to the United States and Australia.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  Nurses from Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom and many European countries are going overseas as well. The report into the death of Róisín Ruddle contains recommendations about gaps, particularly in ICU, which affect cardiac and other serious forms of surgery. We need to ensure that intensive care units are staffed at all times so they can deal with patients who require surgery.

Mr. Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton  On a point of clarification——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  We cannot have a debate on the matter.

[945]Mr. Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton  I am not asking for a debate. I would like clarification of the Tánaiste’s comments.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The Chair has a dilemma.

Mr. Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton  I would like to ask about the international monitoring committee.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  I allowed questions this morning that did not relate to the Order of Business.

Mr. Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton  I raised an issue and the Tánaiste responded.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  That is correct.

Mr. Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton  We are entitled to know whether the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform will make a statement in the House, thereby giving Deputies an opportunity to participate in a debate.

Mr. Connaughton: Information on Paul Connaughton  Zoom on Paul Connaughton  Exactly.

Mr. Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton  The Tánaiste said that the Minister will make a statement and the House should hear that statement.

Mr. Connaughton: Information on Paul Connaughton  Zoom on Paul Connaughton  The Minister will not be shy anyway.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  It is obvious that Deputies will be given copies of the report. I am sure they would like an opportunity to study it. Some of the issues raised in the report were discussed during the debate on the Private Members’ motion tabled by Fine Gael this week. The Minister intends to issue a statement when the report is published.

Mr. Howlin: Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  Not in the House.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  Not in the House today, no.

Mr. Connaughton: Information on Paul Connaughton  Zoom on Paul Connaughton  Why does he not make a statement in the House?

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  I assume Deputies would like an opportunity to study the report before it is discussed in the House. I would have thought that such an approach would be better.

Ms O. Mitchell: Information on Olivia Mitchell  Zoom on Olivia Mitchell  I would not like to deprive him of the opportunity to have a press conference.

Ms McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  I asked a question that was not answered. It is important that there should be a debate in the House——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  Deputy McManus——

Ms McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  It was not answered.

[946]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The Chair used its discretion this morning to allow a question that was not in order under Standing Order 26.

Ms McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  I appreciate that. I thanked the Ceann Comhairle at that time.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The Chair will not be in a position to do that in future if it develops into a wholesale debate.

Ms McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  I do not mean to be disorderly. I was very grateful to——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  If I allow the Deputy to speak, everybody else will be entitled to speak on the matter.

Ms McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  I am seeking a simple answer.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  I call Deputy Ring.

Ms McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  I asked the Tánaiste if we could have a debate on the nursing crisis. I hope the Tánaiste——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  Is the debate promised?

Ms McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  ——appreciates the importance of such a debate.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  No debate is promised.

Ms McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  I hope the Tánaiste will agree to have a debate.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  As no such debate is promised, the Deputy will have to find another way of raising the matter.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  I understand there will be questions on the matter today. It is not correct to suggest that there is a nursing crisis.

Ms McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  The Tánaiste’s failure to recognise the crisis is part of the problem.

Mr. M. Ahern: Information on Michael Ahern  Zoom on Michael Ahern  The Deputy is the problem.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  I call Deputy Ring.

Ms McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  The Deputies on the Government side do not see any evil.

Mr. Ring: Information on Michael Ring  Zoom on Michael Ring  I would like to raise two issues. Will the Údarás na Gaeltachta Bill be introduced in the House before the Údarás na Gaeltachta elections take place on 2 April next? When I walk in here every morning when the House is sitting, I look up to see the tricolour flying over Leinster House. As I was coming in this morning, however, I noticed that the flag was missing. Does the Tánaiste know anything about it? Does Deputy Ó Caoláin know anything about it?

Mr. Connaughton: Information on Paul Connaughton  Zoom on Paul Connaughton  Good man, Michael.

[947]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  I understand that there was a difficulty with the rope used to suspend the flag. It is being attended to as a matter of urgency.

Mr. Ring: Information on Michael Ring  Zoom on Michael Ring  I take it that there will not be any hangings.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  Does Deputy Ring have any evidence of Deputy Ó Caoláin’s involvement?

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  It was not a matter of taking down the mast.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  Perhaps Deputy Ó Caoláin or Deputy Ó Snodaigh had the rope.

Mr. C. Lenihan: Information on Conor Lenihan  Zoom on Conor Lenihan  It might be found with Deputy Ó Snodaigh’s posters.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  The heads of the Údarás na Gaeltachta Bill will be published later this year. I do not think they will be published before the elections in early April.

Mr. Howlin: Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  When the Tánaiste was Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, she promised that the employment permits Bill would be introduced. She confirmed to the House that it would provide for a change in procedures so that permits would accrue to individuals rather than to companies. Her successor, Deputy Martin, gave a different indication on “Morning Ireland” this morning. When will the Bill be published? If the Government has already approved the heads of the Bill, is it the case that there has been a change of policy since the Tánaiste left the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment?

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  The Bill will be published in this session.

Mr. Howlin: Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  Have the heads of the Bill been approved?

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  Yes.

Mr. Howlin: Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  The Tánaiste knows the content.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  The Minister will bring the Bill back to the Cabinet.

Mr. Quinn: Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  He should read the Bill.

Mr. Howlin: Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  Has there been a change since the Tánaiste left?

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  I do not intend to anticipate the contents of the Bill.

Mr. Connolly: Information on Paudge Connolly  Zoom on Paudge Connolly  The Tánaiste recently lifted the suspensions on two consultants at Cavan General Hospital. When will the saga at the hospital——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  That does not arise on the Order of Business.

[948]Mr. Connolly: Information on Paudge Connolly  Zoom on Paudge Connolly  When will the health complaints Bill be introduced?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The Deputy should submit a question.

Mr. Kehoe: Information on Paul Kehoe  Zoom on Paul Kehoe  Many family law cases have been ongoing for two or three years. The family law Bill needs to be introduced as soon as possible. The Chief Whip said it is expected that the Bill will be published in 2005. Is it possible that the Bill will be introduced sooner than that?

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  The Bill will be published later this year. I will discuss it with the relevant Minister to see whether it can be introduced sooner.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  When will the yellow pack medical cards partial alleviation of acute distress Bill be brought before the House?

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  They are the doctor-only medical cards. For somebody who was so critical, the Deputy seems very anxious about them. As I stated previously, in light of legal advice, legislation is required and it will be presented to the Cabinet on Tuesday week.

Mr. Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  Why does it take so long?

Ms McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  Tuesday week. It was a tiny Bill that the Tánaiste talked about.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  It is not.

Mr. Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  For tiny medical cards.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  I am delighted the Deputy is anxious to have them issued given that she was very critical of them at first.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  I call on Deputy Coveney.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  The idea is that they will be issued in April.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  Allow Deputy Coveney to submit his question.

Mr. M. Higgins: Information on Michael D. Higgins  Zoom on Michael D. Higgins  For the comfort card.

Mr. Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  The Ceann Comhairle keeps interrupting the Tánaiste and we cannot hear what the she is saying.

Mr. Coveney: Information on Simon Coveney  Zoom on Simon Coveney  The Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform has promised repeatedly that he will introduce an independent press council of sorts. Does this require legislation? If so, what is the timescale?

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  The Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform tells me he will be ready to present the relevant legislation to Government in a couple of weeks.

[949]Ms O’Sullivan: Information on Jan O'Sullivan  Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan  The Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse (Amendment) Bill is listed for this session. Does the Tánaiste know the timescale?

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  I believe it is almost ready to go to Government and will be dealt with this session.

Mr. Gormley: Information on John Gormley  Zoom on John Gormley  A few weeks ago, the Taoiseach assured the House that peace had broken out regarding the strategic national infrastructure Bill. It is good to see the Ministers for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government and Justice, Equality and Law Reform sitting side by side. Will the legislation contain references to incineration? The original idea was to fast-track incineration. Will it be dropped?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The Deputy cannot discuss the content of the legislation? I call Deputy Bruton.

Mr. Gormley: Information on John Gormley  Zoom on John Gormley  When will the legislation come before the House?

Mr. Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  It will not be in Wicklow anyway.

(Interruptions).

Mr. Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  Two exclusion zones.

Mr. Gormley: Information on John Gormley  Zoom on John Gormley  It will be in Wicklow but after the election.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  Allow the Tánaiste without interruption.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  The legislation will be introduced later this year.

Mr. Gormley: Information on John Gormley  Zoom on John Gormley  Will it provide for incineration?

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  I will not comment on the content of the Bill. The Deputy will have to wait to see it.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  We cannot discuss the content of the legislation. I call Deputy Bruton.

Mr. Gormley: Information on John Gormley  Zoom on John Gormley  What are the respective positions of the Ministers for Justice, Equality and Law Reform and the Environment, Heritage and Local Government?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  Deputy Gormley should allow Deputy Bruton without interruption.

(Interruptions).

Ms O. Mitchell: Information on Olivia Mitchell  Zoom on Olivia Mitchell  Members from any rung of the ladder could get into that Government.

Mr. Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton  Everyone in this House will——

Mr. Gormley: Information on John Gormley  Zoom on John Gormley  If one is in Government one can do something about it.

[950]Mr. Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton  Everyone in this House will welcome the apology for the denigrating terms that were used in one of our national newspapers to describe lone parents. However, there are questions on this matter that require a legislative response. Do we genuinely seek to remove welfare traps from our welfare code? Will the Social Welfare Bill address this? Do we genuinely seek to maximise the chances that parents will raise children together in the context of enduring commitments to one another?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  That does not arise on the Order of Business.

Mr. Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton  It does arise.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  I suggest that the Deputy submit a question to the line Minister.

Mr. Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton  Clear issues arise in respect of the legislative programme. The Social Welfare Bill and the Finance Bill fail to address them.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  I call Deputy Quinn.

Mr. Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton  That is the reality. We are failing to provide proper family support.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  I suggest that the Deputy submit a question to the line Minister.

Mr. Quinn: Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  Will the House be presented with the Bill to ratify the constitutional treaty of the European Union before or after Easter? Given that the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government is beside the Tánaiste, will she ascertain from him the position on the building control Bill? Will it be presented to the House before the summer recess?

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  The Bill on the constitutional treaty will not be presented to the House before Easter. It will be after Easter and before the summer. The building control Bill will be introduced in autumn of this year.

Mr. Neville: Information on Dan Neville  Zoom on Dan Neville  With the permission of that Ceann Comhairle, can I, too, ask the Tánaiste if she will allow time today or use a mechanism to address the report into the death of Róisín Ruddle? Having been a friend of her family and a fellow parishioner all my life, I extend my sympathy to them on their tragedy.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  That matter has already been dealt with.

Ms Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  I am sure the Tánaiste is aware that the National Aquatic Centre, which cost €70 million to build, had its roof blown off in high winds after Christmas. This has absolutely flummoxed engineering experts in Ireland and elsewhere in Europe. It involves a consortium——

[951]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  Has the Deputy a question on legislation?

Ms Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  Yes, I have.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  What legislation?

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  The fixing of roofs Bill.

Ms Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  A consortium is running the National Aquatic Centre. When does the Minister propose to introduce the Abbotstown sports campus development authority Bill? There is no legislation——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  That question was dealt with on Tuesday this week.

Ms Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  ——governing the spending of €70 million of taxpayers’ money.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  The Taoiseach indicated on Tuesday that legislation will be published this session.

Ms Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  The reason I ask is that the Ceann Comhairle sent me and my colleague Deputy Wall a letter indicating that he would not take questions on the National Aquatic Centre because it is not covered under any legislation. He relented subsequently and allowed to me an Adjournment debate, but my colleague Deputy Wall——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  That does not arise on the Order of Business. I call Deputy Rabbitte.

Ms Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  ——is still not being allowed to ask questions to the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, the Taoiseach or the Minister for Finance, who are the shareholders in the company.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  We will hear Deputy Rabbitte.

Ms Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  Given that we have no legislation, we cannot obtain answers regarding what happened.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The Deputy will have to find another way to raise the matter. I call Deputy Rabbitte.

Ms Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  Will the Ceann Comhairle help me? It is a perfectly legitimate question pertaining to €70 million of taxpayers’ money.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The Deputy should submit a question to the line Minister.

Mr. Howlin: Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  But they were refused.

Ms Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  Our questions were refused.

Mr. Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  The Ceann Comhairle refused them.

[952]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  That question was raised on the Adjournment.

Mr. Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  The Ceann Comhairle refused them.

Ms Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  He allowed them after a long debate but he will still not allow——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  It has already been raised in the House by Deputy Burton.

Ms Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  ——my colleague Deputy Wall to——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The Deputy is being disorderly. We cannot have a debate on this matter.

Ms Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  We do not even know who the Minister is.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  Allow Deputy Rabbitte.

Ms Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  Is the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism responsible——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The Deputy should allow the leader of her party to ask a question. He has been called.

Ms Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  ——or is it the Minister for Finance or the Taoiseach?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  Allow Deputy Rabbitte.

Ms Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  They are the shareholders in the company. The Progressive Democrats——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  I ask Deputy Burton to resume her seat.

(Interruptions).

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  We did not take the roof off it.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  We will move to No. 1 on the Order of Business if the Deputy does not want to allow her leader to contribute.

Ms Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  The roof is off the centre and it is closed.

Mr. Quinn: Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  We want to take the lid off it to see what is going on.

Mr. Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  It is an outdoor pool now.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  Why is the Social Welfare Bill on the agenda for next week but not yet published or available to Members of the House? Time and again, the Tánaiste and the Taoiseach have made commitments to the House to the effect that there would be a minimum of two weeks allowed to examine major legislation.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  I understand the Bill will be published this week.

[953]Mr. Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  Three days before it is taken.

Ms McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  It is a shame.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  It is to put into effect the budgetary provisions. All Members are aware of that.

Mr. P. Breen: Information on Pat Breen  Zoom on Pat Breen  On the company law consolidation and reform Bill, is it the Tánaiste’s intention to disengage from Shannon Development and transfer it to the IDA and other national agencies for job creation, given that 70 jobs are to be lost in Shannon this morning?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  I call the Tánaiste on the legislation.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  The company law consolidation and reform Bill has nothing to do with Shannon Development, as the Deputy well knows. We will do whatever is in the best interest of the region.

Mr. Boyle: Information on Dan Boyle  Zoom on Dan Boyle  Will the Tánaiste allow time to discuss the comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty in light of the differing approaches being taken in respect of Iran, for instance, and the news emerging from North Korea on the extension of its nuclear programme?

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  Time will be allowed later this year.


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